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THE DMA SUPPORTS NATIONAL ANTI-SPAM LAW
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts: Louis Mastria 212.790.1529 Lmastria@the-dma.org
Jordan Cohen 212.790.1507Jcohen@the-dma.org
THE DMA SUPPORTS NATIONAL ANTI-SPAM LAW
NEW YORK, December 8, 2003 – The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) today expressed its support to the United States Congress for its passage of the Can Spam Act. The new law effectively creates a national standard that clearly distinguishes legitimate commercial e-mail from unlawful spam and imposes tough criminal penalties, including jail time, on spammers.
The DMA remains concerned, however, about the inclusion of provisions in the legislation that could potentially lead to the creation of a government-run do-not-e-mail registry and/or a labeling requirement. These approaches, while they seem appealing, will do nothing to reduce spam in consumers’ in-boxes while impeding the growth of legitimate e-mail communications.
"The Can Spam Act is an important victory for American e-mail users," said H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. "But no one should hold the illusion that any law can defeat the spam epidemic by itself – we’ve already learned that in the states. In addition to increasingly sophisticated technological solutions, industry self-regulation, and consumer education and awareness, it is critical that the spam problem is meaningfully addressed by law enforcement."
Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that at least 66 percent of spam is fraudulent under existing federal law; and America Online (AOL) more recently testified that up to 90 percent of spam can be considered fraudulent. The New York Times also reported today that at least one-third of all spam is sent from or relayed by personal home computers that have been hijacked by spammers. These offenses all carry jail-time under the new federal anti-spam law.
"Having a single national anti-spam law should make it significantly easier to coordinate efforts between law enforcement officials across the country to find and make rock-solid cases against a common national enemy: spammers," said Wientzen. "Finding and locking up big-time spammers, who are notorious for the high-tech methods they use to conceal their identities, is certainly a daunting task — making it even more important that everyone in this battle, including industry, work together in a highly-concerted manner."
"The more you look at the Can Spam Act, the more you realize that it was specifically designed to go after the folks who are spreading this plague," said Wientzen. "Indeed, spammers and legitimate marketers are completely distinct from one another – not just in the content of their messages, but in the very methods used to send out e-mail."
"Our members have always supported that consumers have the right to be left alone. They don’t send you offensive material and they don’t hack into your computer. They care about cultivating strong customer relationships. We have long advocated that all commercial e-mail, whether solicited or unsolicited, must include an option for removal. We have long advocated that all commercial e-mail must be clearly identifiable, and also include a physical street address. With the enactment of Can Spam, now this will also be the law.
"Going forward, we shouldn’t forget the promise of the Internet – that it can open doors and break down barriers between people. That it can enable political, social, and commercial free speech across the world, organically spreading democratic principles and creating open markets – so we must be especially cautious not to concoct remedies for spam that throws out good e-mail.
"Legitimate commercial e-mail communications are affordable, borderless, and proven effective – enabling many businesses to break into, and compete in the global marketplace – delivering higher quality products at lower prices to consumers. Now we have a framework for e-mail that emphasizes much greater transparency, and with that, will help build towards greater comfort and security for e-mail users.
The DMA is the leading trade association for businesses interested in interactive and database marketing, with nearly 4,700 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors. Included are catalogers, Internet retailers and service providers, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned economic-impact study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States are projected to have surpassed $1.7 trillion in 2003, including $133 billion in catalog sales and $41 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA's Web site is www.the-dma.org, and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.